It's another week of social distancing, and almost all of us are having to work or study from our homes. That being said, it's important to know what you should and shouldn't do when you find yourself in a video call. Here are some tips to help you out.
IS THE VIDEO CALL EVEN NEEDED?
If the purpose of the call can be fulfilled via text, email or a simple audio call, it's recommended that you don't opt for the video conference in the first place. That way, you'll be saving the other person a whole lot of time.
LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW
Take the call in a separate room. You wouldn't want people to barge in while you're pitching an idea. Inform your family or roommate/s that you'll be taking such a call and ask them to not bother you for the next couple of hours or so.
KNOWING WHAT TO WEAR
If you're in a video call for academic or professional purposes, you'd be better off wearing a slightly formal attire. Run a comb through your hair while you're at it. Just because you're home doesn't mean you get to do classes in your dirty pyjamas and bed hair.
MAKE SURE THE CALL WORKS
A few seconds into the call, do a quick check with everyone and ensure that all of them are able to both see and hear you. If the other participants are unable to do so, check your app or device settings. See if your device has the permission to share live feed or not. If the settings look okay, maybe you could try fiddling with your webcam or mic. If all fails, and if others can confirm that everything is working fine from their end, you could leave the call and join again. And if this fails, you should politely message them explaining the situation and leave the call; at this stage, you're probably wasting everyone's time.
MUTE YOUR MIC WHEN NOT SPEAKING
Microphones can pick up minor background noises, like noise generated by the ceiling fan, or someone snoring in the next room. Turning off the mic when you're not speaking will prevent this additional noise from being added into the mix of the conversation.
HEADPHONES OVER SPEAKERS
Use of loudspeakers during the call can lead to unwanted noise and feedback for other participants. Use headphones, or earphones. Avoid playing music or watching videos with the sound on during the call.
CLEAR YOUR BACKGROUND
You don't need to clean the entire room, just the background which will be in direct view of the others. If you're not feeling up to it, just take whatever mess lies in front of your camera, and place it somewhere out of view.
JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD
You're at home, meaning you have access to all the comforts you can ask for. But just because you can distract yourself, doesn't mean you should. Don't get up and leave during the call without asking for permission first. Avoid eating or using your phone during the conference, as well as scrolling your newsfeed or any other irrelevant website or page. At the end of the day, your virtual presence is still a resemblance of who you are in real life, so act the part.